In Faith #2, our titular hero, Faith Herbert aka Zephyr, deals with the fallout of a psiot, or a potential hero in the Valiant Universe, named Sam going missing, and the organization taking him covering their tracks through exploding houses. Faith uses her secret identity as Summer Smith, a content writer for Zipline (Basically, Buzzfeed.) to track him down, but by the end of the issue, she is on the defensive. Writer Jody Houser makes Faith a dark storyline with young people being kidnapped and treated as slaves with a sunny, optimistic characters. However, her self-awareness about superhero and science fiction stories and past experiences as a hero has made her far from naive as she understands that in the real world, bad guys don’t go away at the end of each issue or episode. Houser uses Faith’s fandom as part of the story as she and Sam both liked a cult sci-fi comedy TV show that puts his mother at ease as she tries to find out more information about him. Faith uses pop culture as a way to make sense of the world, but this could backfire as the final page cliffhanger reveals.
Faith #2 uses two artists with vastly different storytelling styles. Marguerite Sauvage (Bombshells) draws special fantasy sequences, which shows how Faith would like to see the world, like the opening page, which reminds me of Curt Swan’s Silver Age Superman art with Faith being able to balance being a reporter, defeating supervillains, and still finding time to save kittens. Her art style is more stylized than the more modern “house” superhero style of Francis Portela. However, this isn’t a knock on Portela, who excels at drawing different body types, starting with Faith herself and extending to the side characters and even her ex-boyfriend Torque, who is one of those hyperjacked Crossfit types to go with his douchiness in wanting to be on a reality TV show than actually helping people. It is refreshing to have a plus sized superheroine, who doesn’t get made fun of or put down for her weight. (Torque even scolds his current girlfriend, Sidney, for saying he traded up.) And the more realistic anatomy doesn’t take away from Portela’s storytelling as he can do everything from flaming explosions to more comedic moments, like Faith’s boss’ rictus smile, when he assigns her to do an article on her ex-boyfriend’s reality TV show. But the fantasy sequences are definitely the visual highlight of the book.
Faith #2 has some riveting final pages, which put the miniseries’ plot into high gear and end up blowing holes into the traditional superhero tropes of the secret identity. It’s like what has been going on the Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg superhero shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl), but much quicker and with less female characters being treated as damsels in distress by their fathers. (See Joe West in The Flash Season One.) But the earlier parts of the comics are no slouch, and Houser handles Faith’s day job in a realistic way with her not getting a free pass for sleeping in a morning meeting after some late night superheroics as well as her editor rewriting her piece on Torque. Instead of being like Lois Lane and winning Pulitzers, Faith is a lowly “content writer”, and her job is fun, if a little on the unfulfilling side like most entry level jobs. (At least, she’s not a freelancer.) Houser doesn’t resort to old office work cliches and instead pokes fun at “clickbait” websites and pitch meetings.
In Faith #2, Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage give Faith Herbert have both a mix of optimism and pessimism about the world while being an adorable geek. (She uses her superpowers to help rearrange her action figures while on the phone with her hacker friend “@X”, which is the perfect alias.) She wants to make a difference as a superhero, but is aware about the cost to people around her. And the upcoming issue presents her with an important choice to go with its hell of cliffhanger.